Archive for the ‘thesis’ Category

2009 Resolution Summary

At the beginning of last year I decided to make a list of 10 resolutions/goals for the year. That way, if I only did 7 of them, it’s a 70% success rate! Plus, I made them of different degrees of difficulty: some were for-sure things (going on a trip), while others will be years in the making (be better at confrontations). Here is the list, and how I have done:

1. Find a hobby
I took up knitting! So far I have finished a scarf and a toque. I’ve also been working on a baby blanket, but it’s taking me forever. I hope to finish it up in the next month or so though. I’m also working on a scarf to match my toque. I find this to be a satisfying hobby, since it takes a decent amount of time, but I get something cool at the end that I can actually use.

I also decided that reading (see #3) is also a hobby. I will keep both of these up in 2010.

2. Be more active
This never goes as well as I hope. I tend to be active in waves: sometimes I’m doing a ton of stuff, other times I’m sitting on my ass watching way too much TV. This year, I plan on making more specific resolutions regarding this, in hopes that it will help.

3. Keep reading (1 book/month)
I kicked this resolution’s ass! I ended up meeting and surpassing this goal, and read 17 books this year. I also joined a book club with three other ladies. Stay tuned for a summary of the books I read in 2009. This year, I’ll be upping the ante.

4. Better at confrontations
This is one of those goals that is hard to measure. I know I have gotten better in the sense that I don’t feel as guilty if I get into an argument or confrontation with someone. However, I still avoid these situations way more than I should (and then get pissed off later). A work in progress for sure.

5. Research career options
I have definitely done well on this one. Early on in the year I decided that my career path will be education and outreach. Since finishing my PhD, I have been researching these options a bit more and have made many contacts the past few months at the university. Hopefully something will pan out from all of it.

6. Journal more
I wasn’t doing well at the beginning of the year, but I wrote in my journal almost every day on our trip to South America. Since then I’ve been writing more – perhaps once a week or so. It’s tough because I tend to use this blog as a journal, but it would be nice to write more often.

7. Try not to take things so personally
Like #4, this is a work in progress. I don’t think I did as well with this as I did with the confrontations one. I tend to take things personally even when I know they weren’t meant that way. This also plays in to #8 – the worse I feel about myself, the more I take things personally.

8. Confidence and self-esteem
Another hard-to-measure goal, but it’s coming along. I would really like to stop hating my body so much (especially after the recent miscarriage), but I have a feeling that #2 up there has a lot to do with that.

9. Finish and defend my PhD
Done and done! Thank God that’s over!

10. Travel to Chicago.
Well, I didn’t do this, but we ended up going to South America, so I figure that counts!

So, that’s six that I definitely did well on. Since three are more long-term goals, I figure that’s pretty good. That whole “getting active” thing is really screwing up my record! Stay tuned for a list of my 2010 resolutions.


2009 in Review

DH and I got back from our Christmas vacation last night. It was nice to visit with family and friends, and it gave us some much needed time away from home. But, it’s definitely great to be back!

2009 has been one exciting year for us! There has been a number of big changes, with still more to come. Here is a review of the past year:

The Big 3-0: I turned 30 in March, and instead of being a scary or sad time, it was actually quite liberating!

Career direction: I (finally) decided what I want to do when I grow up. Education and outreach is my passion! Now I just need to find a job…

The PhD thesis: I spent much time worrying about my thesis defense (hence why it was the second most popular subject I blogged about in 2009), but got it done on July 20th!

Dream vacation: two weeks after finishing my PhD, DH and I went on a dream vacation to Brazil and Peru in August.

Comin’ out: after a year of blogging pseudonymously, I “came out” and now blog under my real name.

Published author: two papers from my PhD thesis were accepted and published in 2009.

Paper anniversary: DH and I celebrated our first year of marriage on September 13th.

Settling down: after much anguish and waiting, DH took a permanent position right here in London at the end of September. He got his first ever car too!

Comet: to commemorate my PhD, I got another tattoo in October.

Try, try again: DH and I started “trying” in the fall, and found out we were pregnant in mid-November. Unfortunately, we lost the pregnancy about 8.5 weeks in. Not a great way to end the year, but we hope 2010 will bring us more luck in this department.

Well, I think those were the major happenings in our lives over the past 12 months! It has been an amazingly crazy year, with many ups and downs, but we made it through and are excited to see what 2010 holds for us: a house? a job that I love? perhaps a baby? what else?

Happy 2010!!!

Official Freak Out #1

I was doing so, so well with not being nervous about my defense since submitting my thesis. I have been relaxed, calm, and even excited from time to time about it all.

Then yesterday, I finished making my presentation. Then I started thinking about all the questions people might ask after the talk because there’s so much I can’t put into it. Then I started thinking about all the questions my examiners might ask. Then I started to cry.

Holy crap. 9 more days…9 more days…(then I promise I will write about something else!).

In other news: I very might well buy a bikini for the first time in my life today. Maybe.

Two Weeks

I’ve been talking about my thesis and defense a lot over the past couple of months, and frankly even I’m getting sick of it. But, since it’s in the front of my mind practically 24/7, it’s just something we’ll all have to deal with for another couple of weeks!

Two weeks from right now I’ll probably be puking, curled up in a ball in a corner, crying, repeating “I don’t wanna!!” to DH….or most likely all of the above. It’s funny though, because right now I’m actually more excited about it than nervous. Let me clarify: excited to be done. Although, I am kind of excited for the talk, because that’s something I enjoy doing.

My studying is going alright – slowly, but definitely in the right direction. I made a list of concepts I needed to brush up on, and now I’m just going through that list and making notes. My supervisor also gave me a list of questions, and I will go through those as well.

My goal this week (i.e., before next Monday) is to have all my notes written up for those questions (both mine and supervisors) and to have all my slides done for my talk. That way, I can just spend next week reviewing the notes and practicing my talk 2-3 times.

The parental unit arrives on Saturday night before the defense (late – I’m not sure if I’ll even see them that night). So, on the Sunday I hope to just relax with them – hang out, eat, talk, etc.. They leave Wednesday morning, so I won’t even think about doing my corrections until then.

It’ll be good to see them – this is the second time my dad has visited me, third for my mom (she came on her own one time). My brother is contemplating coming as well, so that would be awesome since he’s never been here.

Anyway, back at it I suppose.

Not sure how to do this

Last week I started “studying” for my defense. Really, all I did was read through my thesis and made notes on things I need to brush up on.

Today I started going through the list and was getting so frustrated. It’s really hard for me to figure out how much I need to know about a certain concept. I start reading about it, wondering how much I really need to know, and of course start to freak out. Am I concentrating too much on something I only mention practically in passing, or is this something that the committee will pick out and if I don’t know it I’ll look like an idiot?

I’m also finding it really hard to motivate myself at this point. I know it’s only three weeks away, and I really need to just sit down and work/study, but I. JUST. DON’T. CARE. ANYMORE. I’m so completely bored when I go to read anything.

Did this happen to you when you were preparing for your defense? How did you overcome it (or did you)? How much time do you think you spent preparing for it? How close were the questions you were asked to those you thought you would get?

5 Days Early

I submitted my thesis today! It’s a crazy feeling…it feels amazing to have it done, but it was very anticlimactic when I took it over to grad studies. I got the response of “Okay, thanks” – and I’m standing there thinking ‘is that it??’ haha!!

Anyway, I’m happy I was able to submit it early, especially since I have a conference to attend starting tomorrow (it’s here in town for one of my outreach programs, so won’t be too intensive). It’d be nice to take a couple days off, but that’s not an option right now 😛 I will at least be able to sleep in tomorrow, and I’m getting a much needed hair cut & style before heading to the conference.

So, six and a half weeks to study up for the defense…then it’ll be done!

Revisions and Examiners

I just heard back from the reviewer on paper #2 that was submitted at the beginning of April. It requires major revisions (basically re-doing the data analysis) — well, at least it wasn’t rejected. I had a feeling the method we used might be questioned, and now I’m wondering if it should be changed in my thesis as well (gah!!!).

In other news, we still have not found a university examiner for my defense (someone at the university, but not in my department). We’ve asked 12 people so far – twelve!!! The form has to be in theoretically on Monday, but that’s not going to happen. Thankfully grad studies isn’t going to be sticky on it.

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